In the name of the caliphate | Pakistan Today

In the name of the caliphate

On the soil of Kashmir

It is natural for Kashmiri youth also to get excited at the mere mention of the term “caliphate” although the more frequently used term in Kashmir is “Nizami-Mustafa”

Reportedly a new al Qaeda-affiliated group, Ansar Ghazwatul Hind, has been set up in Kashmir to be headed by Zahir Musa. The aims and objectives of the group, according to al Qaeda information network Global Islamic Media Front, is to wage jihad against India; and to set up a “caliphate” in Kashmir.

Previously, al Qaeda justified its militant activities in the name of establishment of “caliphate” and Israel’s mistreatment of Arabs. Yet they never trained their guns against Israel. They only killed Muslims. In Kashmir it is not difficult to find justifications such as non-resolution of the historical Kashmir Dispute; mistreatment of Kashmiris by India; and of course the establishment of the “caliphate”.

The term “caliphate” is enough to stir the imagination of the youth. They paint a picture of a garden of paradise on earth where people would not be constrained to sweat themselves to earn a living because in this garden God will send them manna dew and quails to eat; milk will flow in streams; crime will vanish; justice will prevail; etc.

In modern times an experiment to set up such a garden was carried out by the Taliban in Afghanistan in mid-1990s. Only they used the term “Amirul Momineen” for their chief rather than the term “caliph”. But this Garden of Eden was made exclusive to ethnic Pashtuns only. All the other ethnicities, Hazaras, Tajiks, Uzbeks, were to be exterminated. During their attempts to terminate these adversaries the Taliban blew up irrigation channels and dams, and poisoned water wells if they lost territory lest non-Taliban Muslims should drink water (p.62 The Taliban Ahmad Rashid).

It is natural for Kashmiri youth also to get excited at the mere mention of the term “caliphate” although the more frequently used term in Kashmir is “Nizami-Mustafa”. The terms “Nizami-Mustafa” and “caliphate” can be interchanged in Kashmir. These youth seem to imagine that if a caliphate were established an Islamic utopia would come into existence and they would get to experience the rule of Caliph Umer. In their enthusiasm they forget that it is dead impossible to produce a Hazrat Umer in modern times.

Beside this Islamic utopia would in actual practice be a communist type utopia where people would be killed by the thousands on mere suspicion. Remember Talibanised Afghanistan?

Now, so far as the modern “caliphatists” are concerned – al Qaeda and their ilk – they are a bunch of sectarians who believe in invoking “takfir” against those who don’t agree with their ideology. They use “takfir” to declare opponents as heretics to justify their killing because, according to them, Islam preaches killing of heretics. Who would they invoke “takfir” against other than Muslims? Who would they kill on the strength of this perverse interpretation of Islam? They will only kill Muslims whilst the promised Garden of Eden would be nowhere in sight. Iraq, Syria, Libia, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, etc, have already been destroyed.

Now the moot point is: If by some chance they manage to capture territory, what would be the procedure they would follow to appoint a “caliph”. There is no set procedure in Islam for the appointment of a “caliph”. This point is evidenced by the fact that all the four caliphs appointed after the demise of the prophet (peace be upon him) in 632 were appointed in different ways.

The assassination of Caliph III had sown the seeds of discontent. Amir Muaviya, the governor of Syria, refused to swear allegiance to Hazrat Ali and the state got partitioned. After Hazrat Ali’s death in 661, he son Hazrat Imam Hasan renounced his claim and Amir Muaviya became the chief of whole state which now got once again united.

Amir Muaviya was succeeded by his son, Yazid in 680. Yazid’s brief rule was characterised by wholesale slaughter of Muslims first at Karbala (680) and then at Medina (683). His forces decimated the prophet’s city, killed the prophet’s helpers, the Ansars, indiscriminately and wronged their women folk for full three days (pp.56-61 Spanish Islam Reinhart Dozy). When he died ending 683, his forces were busy bombarding the Kaaba with stones and spears tied with torches that resulted in the burning of the tent of Hazrat Abdullah Bin Zubair who had pitched it there to save himself from the wrath of besiegers of the Grand Mosque.

By the time of Hazrat Ali’s caliphate the state was in the grip of civil war and by the time of Yazid it had degenerated into dynastic rule. By 1920s the Ottomon Caliphate of Turkey had grown into a thoroughly decayed institution. Hence the Turkish nationalists abolished it. The great Indian scholar of the time, Hazrat Allama Iqbal, supported them. He said that the Grand National Assembly had exercised the power of “ijtijad” (the term “ijtihad” means to exert with a view to form an independent judgment on a legal question) in regard to the institution of caliphate (p.157 The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam). Since then the caliphate became a thing of past. Muslims, led by Turkey, entered into the international political arena which was based on nation state concept and democracy.

In 1947 Kashmir became a matter of dispute between two newly emerged nation states of India and Pakistan. Kashmir Dispute was/is all about whether the people of Kashmir state would like to be part of the national state of Pakistan or that of India. As and when they get a chance to decide, they would have to do so through the democratic method of a UN-supervised plebiscite. While as democracy and nationalism are stark realities of the modern world from which Muslims cannot and should not run away, “caliphatism” is a mirage and absolutely irrelevant to Kashmir Dispute. Moreover, it is impossible to set up a genuine caliphate. Wherever the establishment of caliphate is attempted, the country will sooner or later plunge into civil war on the question of appointment of caliph, his term of office, his replacement, and his succession. Beside this Islamic utopia would in actual practice be a communist type utopia where people would be killed by the thousands on mere suspicion. Remember Talibanised Afghanistan?



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